Tears brimmed in my eyes, as I tried to tell him how upset I was, and scared about being the mother whose children grow up and flee, never to return, so bothered are they with their mother.
You see, when I went upstairs to say good morning to my daughter, she started with her snarky tween talk-back, and I let it fly. I let her affect me, and my mood changed.
That, and my other kids were complaining that they couldn’t get into the bathroom because my daughter was in there for an hour or longer, doing hair, makeup, showering, and no one else had a chance to tend to their own needs.
Then my son was in my shower for a half hour, making us late for synagogue, when he was the one who wanted to leave early and get there on time. Instead of breathing in calm and exuding patience, I yelled in his direction to hurry up and get ready to go.
Then my step-daughter complained that she had nothing to wear for synagogue and I got mad – mad that we don’t know what our kids need until it’s too late. But by then, she was dressed in the clothing that apparently she did have and one kid was ready to go.
The youngest kid sat on his floor, still in his pajamas, putting together a Lego set. The plastic packaging it came in was scattered around his bedroom floor wherever his brother’s towel and discarded clothing didn’t take up floor space.
I left for synagogue without saying goodbye, and all the way there, I thought about what-ifs – what if a great tragedy befalls him and our last encounter was a nasty one?
God willing, that won’t be the case.
I tell you all this to demonstrate the little bits of hatred, animosity, and arrogance that plague my home. All of us, in our cushy suburban house, with all we need and whatever our hearts desire. Riding the magic carpet of more love than we could ever imagine.
And what do we do with it?
Dare to be dissatisfied and complain.
Over the past two days, two horrific terrorist attacks, in Beirut and in Paris, commanded the airwaves. Horrible, hate-filled acts of destruction that took lives as if they didn’t matter. Snuffed out the very breath that coursed through innocent people, filled with potential, love, and lives.
I don’t know the names of those who perished, and I don’t know the names of those who caused them to. I don’t understand even a tiny bit of why things like this happen.
But I started to think.
If my own family, and my own house, is filled with niggling, nudging nastiness, then is it any wonder that the rest of the world is taken over by hatred?
My whole life, I’ve been hated.
For being a Jew.
For being white.
For being bossy and having a big mouth.
For having money.
For not having money.
For saying before I think.
And lest you think that I’m playing the victim, I’ll admit that for much of my life, I’ve been guilty of hating, too.
For not agreeing with me.
For not liking me.
For having more than me.
For not including me.
For scaring me.
For loving me.
Over the past two days, I’ve written about friendships fading. The friendships I had in mind were ones built on falsehood and illusion and I’ve come to realize that the falling point for both rested in jealousy.
You see, the world grows on love and acceptance, on wishing well and issuing blessings to everyone outside of you.
And similarly, the world shrinks on hatred, animosity, and covetousness. I want what you have – and I’ll do anything to get it.
If you believe in the law of attraction, then you realize that it’s all in perfect order. My desires consume me, and my selflessness raises me.
I can’t undo the first part of my day. But I can change the hours that come after now.
I can look with love on the mess under foot, and shower understanding over those people who don’t yet have it in their clutch.
And by doing so, not only do I elevate myself – I raise up everyone I come into contact with.
That’s how we heal this world: one kindness at a time, until that’s all we can see.